Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
I know that typically the views about women initiating divorce might be more limiting and men have greater permissions to initiate divorce. However, if a husband repeatedly over a duration of time expresses an intent to divorce once a certain condition occurs, is it within the realm of acceptability for a wife to initiate the legal process of divorce (either before or after that condition occurs)? Has the husband actually effectuated divorce by stating many times under calm conditions that he does not have an intention to remain married?
I love my spouse and don’t like this option, and I’ve been really patient hoping for an intention to change of heart or a willingness to seek help through an imam or a counselor, but there is no shared willingness to work things out.
Answer: Assalam ‘alaykum. I’m sorry to hear about your situation between you and your husband. May Allah grant you patience and steadfastness.
First let’s deal with the fiqh aspect of your question. It is not clear from the information you have given what the conditional statement of divorce is. What I have understood is the following, with the related rulings:
1. Your husband has said that he ‘does not have an intention to remain married’. This would be considered a promise or threat of divorce, but not an actual divorce.
2. Your husband has conditioned your divorce by a specific time, meaning when that time enters, divorce occurs. If this is the case, then whatever number of divorces he has made dependent, will automatically take effect upon the entrance of the specified time.
Where to go from here
Given the above, there is really nothing for you do to in regards initiating the conditioned divorce, as it will automatically occur when the time it is conditioned upon enters.
In terms of initiating a divorce before the time occurs, the only option you have is to either initiate a new and separate divorce, either by a) asking him to issue you a divorce now, which will take effect immediately, or b) seek a khul’a agreement, a divorce in exchange for remuneration, which will end your marriage contract immediately, and means he cannot take you back except via a new marriage contract, should you desire to enter into marriage with him again. Given your situation, there is nothing wrong with you pursuing either of these options.
It is sad that your husband does not seem to want to fix the marriage or stay married, nor seek outside help. At this point, as hard as it may be and despite the love for your husband, you need to think about yourself, your own happiness and emotional needs, and if you have children, their happiness and stability.
I would suggest asking your husband one more time to get help, marriage counselling, or any other means to salvage your marriage. However, if he shows no willingness, then start thinking about your next step and how you will move forward in your own life.
I hope you have family and friends who can help you through this and support you during these difficult times. If not, then do explore what local support services are available to you, including financial support.
May Allah grant you all the best, and if you ask, then ask Him to provide for you, and take solace in Him when things get difficult. Please feel free to follow up if you need.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Counselling disclaimer: This answer has been written specifically for this questionner. Please consult a local scholar or ask us your question if you are experiencing similar issues.
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.